Here is information to assist those who have an interest in short term missions (STM) trips for individuals or groups. Anyone seriously interested in coming out for a STM trip needs to research the following. Planning ahead makes a great difference in the outcome of any venture.
1. Communicate with the missionary, email is especially useful.
2. Research what is needed for a successful missions trip. Pray…
3. Plan ahead. Find out what time of year would work best. Example, sometimes missionaries are out of country on various assignments. The trip may be planned to hopefully avoid adverse weather.
4. Plan what involvement and work/ministry that the short term missions team/individual will be involved in.
5. Prepare to be a blessing. Find out what is needed. Know what to expect: expenses for food, transportation both for international travel and for when you are with the mission’s group. How much is housing. What about insurance. Study the culture.
6. Contact the AG headquarters and check out the short term program policies and recommendations. It’s not just a vacation. This also makes it so that the church and individual sponsors can receive missions tax credit
7. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
8. Many resources are available. For additional information contact your missionary and the National Short-Term Mission Planning Team, David Jensen, firstname.lastname@example.org website http://www.nstmc.org/
In it for the King & His kids,
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The information below is from a response I wrote to someone asking for specific information about a Short Term Missions Trip. I hope my e-mailed answers will act as a springboard for questions if you or your group are making similar plans,
Subject: RE: Going On a Short Term Missions Trip
Someone asked “Is there anything certain I need to bring?” The answer is ‘Yes’. These are my directions to a lady. You need to bring your heart already prepared by the Holy Spirit, hungry for His presence to be poured through you.
You need to be prepared in His beauty to reflect His love, willing to get as dirty as necessary reaching out to the ‘least of these” willing to hug a child, with no drawing back when you see their fingers scratching their head, and hair covered with the eggs of lice. Yes we have shampoo to treat it. Culture shock may/will hit you, and be prepared, life and culture is much different here than it is there. It is not unusual to see guys taking a leak in plain sight. Also spitting is normal and 90% of the population has TB. Nose picking in public is prevalent. (You do not have to copy). And the guys will try to come on to you because you are an American and white. Which here implies that you are rich, which ‘you are’ simply because of where you were born not necessarily what is in your bank account.
Come as beautiful as possible. As I tell all ladies who come as short term volunteers. Leave behind all valuable jewelry with the exception of a wedding ring, if you are married. Modesty is a virtue in all our actions, for ladies that includes, make-up, etc. If you must wear jewelry, one pair of earrings max (that’s one in each ear) leave any extras back in the states. Kids copy, and hygiene here is not the same as there. Infections set in quickly with multiple piercings. We pray that the beauty that impresses them is that of the heart. One finger ring is also acceptable but no rings is also OK.
Our priority of ministry is children and we do not seek to impress them with our outward jewelry. It’s the heart that communicates the love of Christ. When involved in ministry our dress code is our uniform. Black pants/slacks (not faded style) and the red T-shirt or we can tailor make a blouse with the Family Circus logo and message. During times other than ministry time, the dress attire for ladies (especially in the office) is a skirt or dress unless work conditions dictate pants.
Outside of ministry, when on the beach shorts are acceptable but not when out and around town. Yes, this is an island, but the people do not dress as you might imagine if you went to Hawaii. Also shirts or blouses need to be modest, not low cut, nor showing the midriff.
If you have any additional questions on any of this please e-mail me.
“How much do I need to give you guys for staying there?”
[Note: Not all budgets are the same. Variables include the
length of your stay and what you will be doing while here.]
As a rule of thumb, in order to cover your expenses we recommend that you have at least $30 a day, which should cover almost everything you need.
This includes: room and board. Your food expenses when eating out will be normally no more than $2 a meal and often less unless you take larger portions. We often eat out, two pancakes and a beverage at MacDonald’s is about a dollar. A Quarter Pounder meal is about $2.50. Figure in $2 a day for public transportation fare and $2 daily for personal, etc. expenses. (Just do the arithmetic. Copy it back to me when you have it figured out so I can confirm… Thanks.
Your airfare from Manila to Davao will be around $100 X 2 (round trip) unless that fare is included in your international flight. ATM Cards work well over here to transfer money as needed. Carry as little cash as necessary when out and about. Pick pockets are professional here, and occur frequently… We have all suffered from their attention. When coming I’d recommend carrying about $2-400 in cash, large new clean bills. (It does make a difference). At the airport when you arrive hit the first ATM as you exit past the customs to the left, get some pesos from the ATM. 4,000 pesos = about $100 would be plenty. Even 2,000 pesos should be OK. You may need to spend the night at a guest room opposite the airport. If so, that’s about 1,250 pesos = $30. If you have opportunity to raise additional funds for the children’s ministry this is always appreciated, and allows your time to be of maximum impact.
This has likely given you food for thought. PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK ME ANY QUESTIONS. Communication is critical…
We will make a cell phone available to you. You will be responsible for the prepaid loads. It is expensive to call the states on them so we recommend sticking to e-mail for that. Also texting, not calling, is the norm here. There are other things I may not have addressed that will come up, and we will need you to work with us with a whole heart, as we are a team, and it is for the King. It will be a lot of fun, depending on your heart. What you put into it you will get out of it. The same measure… pressed down shaken together and running over.
Other items you may bring to bless the kids and ministry I can write to you in another e-mail. The airlines allow a hand carry on and a purse and a computer bag and a camera pouch. Also two check in luggage weighing about 60 or 70 lbs. for international flights. Check with your carrier to be sure. There is some wisdom on what to pack and what not to pack. Ask me questions and let’s cover it in another e-mail.
I need your estimated time of arrival as soon as you know it and there are more directions and suggestions to follow.
In it for the King & His kids,
Family Circus Children’s ministry – Davao City PHILIPPINES